- Nov 17, 2017 at 3:15 am #3502499
i watched the BPL film fest the other night, and while it was fun, I kept thinking that most of them featured people fulfilling themselves, entertaining themselves, and it suddenly all just seemed so self centered and indulgent. I could relate – planning trips, getting there, mishaps and having fun, we all do that. But I just kept thinking about how privileged we all are, devoting so much time and energy to our own needs, when back at home most of us have everything we need. None of the films featured anyone non white, and only one was really focused on a woman, although several had women in them. How are we expanding our group to include people who may not be well represented in the outdoor world? I think many of us probably are, and we need some films about that.
And I know BPL readers are a generous and thoughtful lot, so I wanted to start a conversation about how we all give back and share these activities with others. Build trails, lead scouts, donate time and money, bring others into the joy of experiencing the outdoors as we do. I’d love to hear all the things you all are doing to extend your sport to others in your communities. Maybe I’ll get more ideas about what I can do too.Nov 17, 2017 at 5:53 am #3502574
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
A few other parents and I do an annual snow / cabin / math weekend trip for middle-schoolers. I wrote up one of those 2 years ago. And there’s a canoeing / summer version. One of the other parents organizes the food and gets the kids to cook. I bring along challenging math worksheets (the winter trip is during the build-up to Regional and State competitions) and in the summer I teach knots, lashing, and they build a monkey bridge or tower or something. There’s a always a lake to swim in and usually the grizzlies are on the other side of the lake.
It helps that there is world-class recreation within an hour (the *other* National Wilderness Canoe Trails, that isn’t Boundary Waters; a wildlife refuge with cabins and trails; and a little further out, some State and National Parks. But growing up in the SF Bay Area, there were lots of options for camping and backpacking trips close to home.
I feel best not about the kids like mine (two professional parents, pretty much set for a good life), but the working class kids who may now, through having more contact with other adults, see that smart kids have lots of options. And some are from a less intact family. My best math student one year had four different address. I was probably the only adult in his life who saw him every week that year – like I said I would – and fed him every time before putting tough problems in front of him.Nov 17, 2017 at 6:23 am #3502583
Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
I do a lot of trail maintenance and am the secretary and core member of Kodiak Island Search and Rescue (KISAR.org). I guess my main outreach is to lost or injured people. :^)Nov 17, 2017 at 11:32 am #3502595
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
I usually do a bunch of trail maintenence in spring and split my time in summer/fall months as a member of the Lean2Rescue work team building and rebuilding lean-to’s in the ADK’s.
BTW: Many people of color and about 1/3 of the hikers I meet are women…often solo.Nov 17, 2017 at 2:24 pm #3502608
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I often bring a folding saw and cut branches that are crossing the trail. Cut the branch off at least 3 feet from the center of the trail. Most of the time it’s just branches that have fallen on the trail. You can have a tangled mess that’s hard to walk through.
Kudos on SAR people, that’s a big comittment
It seems like there are more solo women than there used to be.Nov 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm #3502622
Paul WagnerBPL Member
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
Thanks for starting this topic! I’ve done some trail work in the National Forests (with a ranger supervised crew–not freelance!) and contribute to a number of organizations like Yosemite Foundation, CSERC, etc. And we invite inexperienced hikers to join us on a trip at least once a year.
Maybe the thing I do that has the most impact is our website, which is aimed at encouraging more people to hike and explore the Sierra. It’s completely non-commercial, no ads, fees, or revenue for us in any way, but it’s also the #1 SEO for backpacking in the Sierra with Google….Nov 17, 2017 at 4:35 pm #3502624
Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
The Mountaineers is an active club here in the Puget Sound area that provides many opportunities to give back to the community and to educate new and seasoned outdoor enthusiast alike. I volunteer by leading sea kayaking trips and assisting with on-water, pool and classroom courses. For hiking I do simple trail maintenance – mostly removing debris and some mild brushing, along with occasionally improving drainage and washbars. I also file regular trip reports for most backpack trips I do on the Washington Trail Association website (WTA.org) so folks know what snow, trail and water conditions are like for hikes they search on.Nov 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm #3502636
Katherine .BPL Member
I often pack out other people’s trash — especially if it’s on my last day / way back.
I’m starting to take out others and share what I’ve learned.
My favorite volunteer activity is pulling invasive ivy. It’s been awhile, but I intend to get back to it.
I witnessed a man having a heart attack in my favorite local natural area and got him prompt help — he recovered. So taking/renewing wilderness first aid and CPR is a good thing to do in case you ever have such an encounter.
I have a grandiose plan to save the world, particularly the environment, but I’ve gotta get my act together on that.
I’d also say that the inputs so many folks on BPL have offered up is a way of giving back. I have learned so much here. Nothing makes up for experience, but I’ve absorbed about as much “armchair backpacking” lessons as one possibly could while was benched with pregnancy and babies. My actual, eventual trips were safer and more comfortable thanks to so many here!Nov 17, 2017 at 6:43 pm #3502649
I want to give a shout out to the Kens who started the GGG, and nurtured it into quite the gathering, enabling many backpackers to find like minded souls, make new friends, sample and see different gear and discover new places to backpack. An additional shout out to those who ran with the idea in their own areas, spreading the GGG goodness to points around the US. Won’t speak for others, but it definitely made a positive contribution to my life/backpacking.Nov 17, 2017 at 10:17 pm #3502692
Thanks, I appreciate that. Been mostly fun doing them.
I now live close to the PCT and will be doing some trail work here
Long time supporter of the PCTA and ALDHA West.Nov 18, 2017 at 3:42 am #3502730
good post. giving back is something I think about often with most aspects of my life. it’s a sign of maturity to not always take but to also be of service to others. the not-enough-times when I do serve, I find that it’s deeply rewarding and I get back much more than I contribute.
with respect to the outdoors, I’ll be giving back by being a volunteer instructor with the Sierra Club’s Wilderness Travel Course. it’s a ten week course for those new to the outdoors where we provide broad instruction on many aspects of enjoying the outdoors including conditioning, gear, snow travel, navigation, etc. I find the Sierra Club’s many volunteers to be some of the finest people I’ve met.Nov 23, 2017 at 10:56 pm #3503722
Mina LoomisBPL Member
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
Giving back. Been thinking recently that we need to make a habit of donating on every trip to the support organizations for the destinations we go to. As a matter of routine. Not just a basic membership (that too) but an actual donation. Especially since we not burly and are less useful for things like trail maintenance.
Besides that thought, for the last 15 years I’ve volunteered to coordinate a little backpacking program for kids and parents out of our local Camp Fire council. We do 8 or 9 weekend trips during the school year and longer trips during winter and spring breaks and during the summer. Right now I am working on trying to recruit a higher proportion of girls. Seems like parents are still, even in this day and age, more inclined to encourage their sons than their daughters to go backpacking. (We could do a whole different topic on that…) I average, over the course of a year, probably 10-15 hours per week on this program. With my own kids all grown up, it gives me a chance to hang out with teenagers, who are the best.Nov 24, 2017 at 12:26 am #3503736
Tipi WalterBPL Member
I think the best thing I’ve done to “give back” to Miss Nature is to never reproduce. One less human to fly overhead in a jet or drive a car or build a house or bespoil what’s left of America the beautiful.
And like Jerry Adams I carry simple trail tools to help in the hike.Dec 21, 2017 at 6:01 pm #3508649
Dena KelleyBPL Member
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
For several years I hosted an annual event for a women’s hiking group with the purpose of introducing women to backpacking and all that it entails. I gave a presentation on “how to pee in the woods” because you’d be surprised at how that one issue can sometimes keep women from doing overnighters. A co-presenter taught all the ladies how to make cat-food can stoves. We also did full-on show-and-tell where people brought their gear and we would look at it, use it, pass it around, compare weights, etc. We did a presentation showing two fully loaded backpacks- one in traditional heavy gear, and one in light gear- and unpacked them and compared the gear. We went through people’s individual tent choices and compared them for weight and comfort. Typical turnout for the overnighter event was 11 people, but one year we had 22. I started it because we always had a high turnout for the day hikes, but a low turnout for the overnighters, and found that a big reason was that many women were simply intimidated by the idea but really wanted to try it. So we did this first overnighter at a popular lake near a parking lot so that they had that relief valve of knowing they could bail out any time they wanted. No one ever did.
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